TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP)New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed landmark employee benefits legislation requiring a half-million public workers to pay more for pension and health benefits.

Christie says the move is necessary to shore up the state’s badly underfunded retirement systems. He predicts New Jersey’s fix will be emulated nationally by other states facing similar shortfalls.

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The Republican governor said the bill he signed on Tuesday got through the Legislature because of bipartisan support.

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Democrats who lead the Legislature supported it. But most rank-and-file lawmakers sided with public-sector unions in opposing it.

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The bill puts benefits for teachers, police and other public workers more in line with the private-sector.

More than 8,000 demonstrated at the Capitol last week in the last of three union-sponsored protests.

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